Tim Martindale

Tim Martindale is the new director of Gallatin County 911 Communications. 

After two years of having a temporary director, Gallatin County hired a permanent 911 communications director who said getting the office fully staffed is one of his top priorities.

“That’s going to be a challenge that I’m hoping to take on right away,” said Tim Martindale, who will move into the director’s role on Friday.

Martindale will take over for Gallatin County Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Anderson who’s been serving as the interim director since August 2017.

Gallatin County 911 Communications provides emergency dispatch services for the valley’s law enforcement and first responders. Martindale will be in charge of 40 people.

Martindale has more than 14 years of experience working for Pacific County Communications in western Washington. There, he was a dispatcher and eventually became the director.

He said he hopes to bring some of the principles he learned for hiring and retaining employees to his new position. Among those, he said, is finding people who would be a long-term fit for the job, rather than a “plug-in and play employee.”

As director in Washington, Martindale oversaw the installation of a new radio system, new phones and text-to-911 software, according to a Gallatin County news release.

Jim Doar, county administrator, said in the release that Martindale stood out from other applicants in a nationwide search. He said Martindale’s experience make him the ideal choice to lead the center.

The county said in its release that the search for a director began in June. Hyalite Fire Chief Jason Rivisky, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin, and Bozeman and Belgrade’s city managers interviewed the candidates. They also heard feedback on finalists from a 911 Advisory Board.

Hiring Martindale resolves one issue that Bozeman police and fire unions raised over the county’s management of 911 services. Bozeman Police Protective Association and the Bozeman Fire Fighters Local 613 also raised concerns with processing times for calls for service, and records clerks taking on dispatcher responsibilities and not assigning complaints to officers.

Anthony Hutchings, president of the police association, said hiring Martindale was a step in the right direction.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

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